You've seen the screenshots. You've discussed trashed them. We've listened. Well, we've done more than that. Destructoid has aggregated a collection of the top 10 most frequent complaints about Street Fighter IV's look and feel -- including various industry people's gripes -- and have created a minor redesign proposal that hopes to rescue this game from falling into the never-ending pit of generic looking fighting games.
Is it possible to make all SF fanboys happy? Not a chance in hell. However, enough specific things were said about Ryu's character model that led us to believe that their present 2D/3D art direction was salvageable if it was more true to the previous game's actual sprites. Is this really necessary? Depends on who you ask. This article is written for the hardcore SF fanboy who were deeply disappointed in the early preview. If you count yourself among their ranks, we would love to have you weigh in on this discussion.
So without further ado, I now temporarily resign myself as a Destructoid editor to effectively go on full-on abusive Ryu fanboy mode after the jump. I'll try to keep the death threats to a minimum. Starting with ...
10 - NOT ALL STREET FIGHTERS SHOP AT INTERNATIONAL MALE
Minor but notable, the departure from the large "flappy" costume to what looks more like low cut tank-top and tight dance leggings. If you can see muscle definition through a set of pants, you're either a porn star or you definitely picked up the wrong size pants. This appears to be the primary result of other more notable bad design decisions, which is our next point:
09 - RYU AND KEN ARE NOT A DWARVES OR HOBBITS
Supposing the pants are the right size, Ryu must have been hitting the rice and beans pretty hard prior to Street Fighter IV. The thickness of the legs on screens that show both him and Ken show child-bearing hips and non-existent shins. The knees are practically on top of the ankles and the feet look like swollen Hobbit hooves. Previous SF games do have stylized exaggerated hands and feet, which are great, but when coupled with fat knees and fat legs it just makes him look like a teapot: short and stout. Please choose one or the other!
08 - RYU IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE MUSCLES ON TOP OF OTHER MUSCLES
Think Ryu would allow a chest cavity and space between his neck, biceps, and shoulder to remain unused? No way! He would find a way to develop muscles that didn't exist and grow them there. While it seems they nailed the forearms, Ryu's neck should look like a 500 year old Oak tree and his other body parts should look like they are filled with concrete. The chest and shoulders looked particularly wimpy as a result of not allowing muscles to grow on other muscles. Also, his adam's apple should look like a knife.
07 - RYU IS A RECTANGLE, NOT A SQUARE
Building on the the muscle-on-muscle concept, giving him a thick waist and narrow shoulders (perhaps due to the horribly disproportionate size of his melon) is a leading factor in why the characters look so generic. Ryu needs to look like could carry two giant lamp posts on his shoulders. The current design looks like he might struggle holding up a boom box. The man looks like he's never done a pull-up and that's just wrong.
06 - RYU'S FISTS SHOULD NOT BE SPONSORED BY NERF
Since when is this Street Sparring IV? Ryu's fists need to look like Mack Trucks of Death. The wimpy looking glossy, rubbery hand guards completely pussify how lethal he looks. The red guards have been around for awhile now, but this is the first time they look like NERF products - cushy and ready to bounce off your face. My personal preference is that they go back to their roots and stop this post-Alpha red hands nonsense and use the black or brown ones we saw in SF2. In earlier games it looked like he was concealing bathroom tile in them.
05 - RYU LACKS EPIC EYEBROWS
In the original games and most of the Capcom promotional artwork, Ryu's eyebrows are actually bigger than his actual eyes. It isn't only a style issue -- its an effect that makes him look like he's been frowning for the last 30 years to create a brow ramp that can refract the rays from the sun to burn a hole in your face. All the focus, anger, and hatred he carries is channeled right smack in the middle of his brow, almost burdened by the sour look on his face holding it up. They got the mouth right but his chin is also lacking muscles that don't exist (see number 8).
04 - WHY IS RYU'S HEAD UTTERLY GIGANTIC?
Any comic book artist will tell you this: if you want to make a guy look tough, make his head smaller than his shoulders. This is also common in anime art and a staple on Street Fighter 2 male character design. Somehow, it was completely missed in IV because the artist was perhaps too preocupied in getting realistic proportions right. The cassava on his shoulders pretty much ruins the entire aesthetic, which beyond specific features such as this and fat legs makes me call to question the entire art direction of the project:
03 - RYU WAS CREATED IN THE STYLE OF AN ANIME CHARACTER. KEEP HIM THAT WAY!
Look, Capcom. One of the primary reasons we loved Street Fighter 2 series was the dynamic range of cool looking anime-style characters that came to life on the screen. Personal preference aside, realistic games like Mortal Kombat couldn't hold a token to the distinctive likes of characters like Ryu, which is amazing because he's just a guy in a karate suit. And yet, unmistakable.
It was the nuances of the character's facial proportions, that exaggerated kabuki-like stoic facial expression, that makes Ryu distinctive. It was the ridiculous muscular build-up, the filthy torn outfit, and the yelling and screaming he produces when you wail on your opponent with him that renders all these things together in an orgy of games-as-art grade epic ass-whipping. The anime roots are completely all but lost in these screenshots due to blasphemous concessions in proportions.
02 - FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, RYU IS NOT NICARAGUAN!
Before I get into why his face looks like utter shit, I'd like to share an inside joke that I'd like to share with you. When Capcom started localizing Street Fighter for the states they brought on this laughable team of illustrators that completely butchered the character design. Nobody was spared. You probably remember picking up the Street Fighter 2 box for your Super Nintendo praying that the game on the inside did not resemble what they had done to the box on the outside. It was horrible to us, but it seemed that the EGM's of the world seem to be oblivious or at least respectful that it was happening despite how hideous they looked.
As kids we had no sophisticated resources or means of explaining this as so we were left to our own devices. Incidentally, we knew a Nicaraguan guy that went to school with us that looked exactly like the guy in the SF2 SNES manual. Thus, we coined the term "Nica Ryu" to describe this art style. I hoped never to see Nica Ryu again after throwing away my instruction manual and graduating, and here he is again! Can we please have him deported once and for all? No offense to Nicaraguans intended, but RYU IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK JAPANESE! STOP THE MADNESS!
And last, but certainly not least...
01 - UGH, MY EYES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHY PENIS WHY?!!
Seriously Capcom, what the hell were you thinking? While we're all happy to know that Ryu could instantly screw Chun-li if she appeared halfway down the street, we don't need to have his wang in our face when he's in the default fighting stance. I don't mean to rob gay gamers of a full view of this crotch, but seriously, could the this be moved to a less popular stance
Would Ryu wear a cup? Probably not. Hell, he's probably commando in those pants and doesn't wear socks or sneakers. But would Ryu not have discipline his penis to not gayly dangle before his opponent like a hypnotic sock puppet? I think so. If everything outlined in this article is is too much to ask, we at least implore you to vanish Sheng Long. Also, cocks.
Putting my money where my mouth is, I offer you this sloppy Photoshop of all ten fixes badly put together. This is no job for a blogger, but it would be great if somebody in charge over there at Capcom could beat the art director over the head with it.
So there you have it. Poked, prodded, and needlessly over-analyzed we've attempted to quantify what specifically was so horribly generic and off about the Street Fighter IV preview. Even if you're as upset and disappointed about it as we are, the game is still in development and footage of the fighter in action may prove that most of these concerns were addressed ... although I have reason to believe that it will lacks sauce already.
At the very least, I've spoken my peace. What would you change if you could? Be as specific as possible in your comments below as we would like to ultimately invite Capcom to comment.